Why is the possessive adjective being used here with a body part?

WillC1Kwiziq community member

Why is the possessive adjective being used here with a body part?

I have a doubt. I came across the following sentences in a book:

1. El ruido me bombardea los tímpanos sin cesar cada día

2. Los sonidos resurgían dentro de mis tímpanos

Sentence 1 seems like a perfect example of how you explained in this article. But what about sentence 2? Why would we use the adjective here instead of the article?

Thanks!

Asked 1 month ago
InmaKwiziq team member

Hola Will

To know if there is a specific reason to use the possessive in the second example it'd be useful to see more context but it could be that the narrator wants to emphasise that it was "their" eardrums that were affected. It's not incorrect to use the possessive, it is simply more natural to use the definite article when it is very obvious that it is referring to your own body. 

I hope it clarified it.

Saludos

WillC1Kwiziq community member

Thanks Inma! I'll post the full context of the 2nd sentence so you can see if it changes anything. They both seem perfectly natural and correct to me, it's just I guess I'm trying to really analyze things I read now looking at each sentence through a grammatical lens and I've always understood that for body parts especially you use the article, but then you run into another construction and you say "Hmmm, that's interesting, it's not following "the rule" so to speak". If that makes sense :)

Thanks for your help. Here's the full context by the way:

Si no podía dormir, pensaba en aquella caja de cristal transparente que de noche también hervía de actividad. En el interior de aquel nítido acuario, la tienda seguía funcionando como un mecanismo automático. Al visualizar aquel escenario, los sonidos de la tienda resurgían dentro de mis tímpanos, me tranquilizaban y me ayudaban a conciliar el sueño. 

Por la mañana volvía a convertirme en una dependienta, un engranaje de la sociedad. Aquel trabajo era lo único que me permitía ser una persona normal.

InmaKwiziq team member

Hola Will

It could be that in "... los sonidos de la tienda resurgían dentro de mis tímpanos,..." the relationship between "tímpanos" and the "possessor" is not 100% clear, meaning that there could be room for other interpretations, and to establish that meaning of "it was in MY eardrums that that sound was felt, not anyone else's eardrums", the narrator wanted to use the possessive to make it clear or emphasise it.

If the sentence was using some another element that reflected that connection between the eardrums and their possessor, for example the pronoun "me" as an indirect object pronoun (dativo), then it would be 100% clear that connection and the use of the article "dentro de los tímpanos" would be more natural:  "los sonidos de la tienda me resurgían dentro de LOS tímpanos" or "los sonidos de la tienda me explotaban LOS tímpanos".  The "me" is already making it clear that it was his own eardrums.

Saludos cordiales

Will asked:View original

Why is the possessive adjective being used here with a body part?

I have a doubt. I came across the following sentences in a book:

1. El ruido me bombardea los tímpanos sin cesar cada día

2. Los sonidos resurgían dentro de mis tímpanos

Sentence 1 seems like a perfect example of how you explained in this article. But what about sentence 2? Why would we use the adjective here instead of the article?

Thanks!

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